Young Alumni Award: Geoffrey (Geoff) Martin | Alumni | University of Guelph

Young Alumni Award: Geoffrey (Geoff) Martin

Yvonne Su

Geoffrey (Geoff) Martin
BA ’10, MA ‘13

Geoffrey (Geoff) Martin is a passionate advocate and researcher dedicated to helping marginalized and vulnerable workers in Kuwait. After completing his undergraduate (with distinction) and master's degrees at the University of Guelph, he has been pursuing a Ph.D. in political science at the University of Toronto. During his academic studies, he spent over ten years conducting research in Kuwait and building up charity infrastructures for illegal and marginalized workers who did not have access to support systems. He has published in numerous academic, media, and business outlets about Kuwait's politics, business, human rights, and society.

Geoff's most notable achievement to date is his founding of the Kuwait Aid Network (KAN), the state of Kuwait's first not-for-profit social enterprise. KAN is an organization aimed at alleviating poverty by empowering and supporting vulnerable communities. Since its establishment in 2020, KAN has been a beacon of hope for many people in Kuwait and beyond and has helped thousands of vulnerable, marginalized individuals.

Under Geoff's leadership, KAN has become a leading advocate for migrant workers through research. For example, KAN partnered with over a dozen NGOs to investigate the challenges to accessing healthcare for illegal workers. As a result of his leadership, KAN was awarded the European Union's Chaillot Prize for 2022, which is an annual prize that recognizes notable human rights organizations in the Middle East. In addition to his advocacy work, Geoff has helped other organizations set themselves up and has championed many local grassroots organizations, empowering women in Kuwait who are working in climate change, politics, humanitarian work, and business.

Through his work with KAN, Geoff has displayed exceptional work ethic and leadership skills, creating a work environment that is educational, thought-provoking, and healthy. Despite the many challenges and limitations faced in Kuwait's sociocultural, regulatory, and geopolitical context, Geoff has remained committed to helping others and has gone above and beyond to support vulnerable communities. His contributions to civil society are significant, and he is a pillar in Kuwait's non-profit sector.

Geoff's passion for community improvement and his dedication to improving the lives of those around him are truly admirable. His commitment to helping others is evident to anyone who works with him, and he is a great employer, mentor, and friend. Although he lives and works abroad, he remains connected to his alma mater, the University of Guelph, and has created professional development opportunities for Guelph students through KAN's cooperative education program. Geoff Martin is a deserving recipient of the Young Alumni Award for 2023.



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